Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded to a failed military coup with what amounts to a political coup of his own. Since last weekend, tens of thousands of Turks have been arrested or fired from their jobs: not just military officers involved in the rebellion but also teachers, university professors, judges and thousands of other civil servants.

A state of emergency has been declared; hundreds of schools have been closed; dozens of journalists have had their credentials revoked. According to Turks monitoring the purge, those targeted include not just supporters of the exiled Islamic leader Erdogan blames for the coup, but also anyone suspected of not supporting his government, including members of minority groups and secular liberals.

Erdogan, who called the failed putsch a “gift from God,” is not just moving to further consolidate what already had become an authoritarian regime. He is also trying to force the United States, Turkey’s NATO ally, to aid his crackdown – in particular by handing over the alleged mastermind of the coup, Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. President Obama’s administration is rightly resisting –- and it must continue to do so even if it means a breach in cooperating with Turkey against the Islamic State.

Gulen leads a peaceful, if secretive, Islamic movement that operates schools in Turkey, the United States and other parts of the world. For years, his followers in the Turkish police and judiciary were allied with Erdogan’s own Islamist party – ironically, the two combined to purge the Turkish military of officers suspected of coup-plotting. But the two leaders fell out in late 2013, when the government moved to close some Gulenist schools and prosecutors suspected of Gulenist sympathies brought major corruption cases against the government.

Erdogan needs to understand that the United States cannot be bullied into abetting his consolidation of a dictatorship.